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Ask TherapistJen Your Own Question
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3435
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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im experiencing real problems between my 7yr child and my new

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im experiencing real problems between my 7yr child and my new partner. well i say new but we have now been together for 2 and a half years and the bond just doesnt seem to be there between them. Me and my daughter were on our own for about a year after her dad left. (she still has regular contact with him, even though he lives away) When i met my new partner i gradually introduced the 2 of them. They seemed to get on ok but i will admit as he hadnt got kids of his own i suppose he sometimes found it hard to relate to her, get down to her level, and understand how kids think and feel. After 8 months of being together i discovered i was pregnant. It was a complete shock as it wasnt planned but decided to have the baby. My daughter seemed really pleased to be having a sister and things were looking up. When she was born my daughter loved her striaght away, but there were signs of jealously. After 6 months my partner decided to buy a house with the plan that we would all live together in time. However things between them have gone from bad to worst. She is not a bad child but she lashes out a times, hits and kicks him, although this is normally after he has been winding her up. There are disagreements over the way i disicpline her, When he shows her attention then she is ok, if anything she is worst when im about because i think she feels she has to fight for attention. Its got to breaking point with me because i feel so torn between the two and he has now turned around and said he doesnt want her to move in. We are on the verge of spliting up over it. How can i be with someone who cant accept my child? He has said that he is willing to work at things if she can change, but they both need to work at it. not just her. im really at my wits end over the whole situation. Any advice would be much appreciated.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families. I am also a mom of Twins.

CoachJenK :

Your partner would like a 7 year old to change? It seems as if he needs to do some growing up and learn how to be a parent and step put it as directly as possible.

CoachJenK :

And for him to say he is not sure that he wants her to move in? This is baffling...your daughter is 7!!!!

CoachJenK :

I think the two of you should see a couples counselor and he should take a parenting class.

CoachJenK :

your daughter has had to deal with many changes here and her behavior seems quite normal...she is not connecting so quickly because she is protecting herself. And she has now had to share her time with a new father figure and she may also be feeling some guilt since she see her Dad regularly. On top of that, she has also had to deal with the birth of a sibling and now once again she worries about losing you and your attention.

CoachJenK :

she needs some support too...not further admonishment from him or demanding that she change. She is the child and he is the adult and she is part of you.

CoachJenK :

He needs to make the changes and learn how to develop the relationship.

CoachJenK :

I see you are offline and I am going to switch out of chat as there have been problems recently in the chat. We will go to Q and A mode and I will wait to hear from you so we can continue. Please give me your thoughts thus far and I am so sorry to hear that both of you are going through this.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
sorry my computer decided to update in the middle of the chat so i couldnt reply
No worries. I am here. I was also thinking that this issue run deeper than just parenting as it affects your relationship and you mental health having to go through this and deal with a new child as well. I am an expert in all of the categories mentioned, so I am happy to go through it all with you. Let me know some of your feelings about what I mentioned earlier in the chat above. I hope you are able to see it. If not let me know.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

i am very depressed at the mo and taking anti depressants. I do agree with you about my partner, i have said it time and time again that he is the adult and he needs to grow up and it always ends in an arguement saying i protect her too much and im too soft. I thought having his own child would make him see things differently as a parent but our babe has yet to get to the difficult stage when they start being a bit naughty sometimes and answering back. He does tend to try and push blame anywhere other than on himself. I do ask myself sometimes why the hell im with him but i do love him and he isnt all bad. He just lacks parenting skills which i blame on the way he was brought up.

He has suggested councilling for both my daughter and him. He seems to want to try by going backwards, with me not moving in, and him just visiting a couple of times a week to try and build their relationship up. Not a bad suggestion but more confusing for her no doubt.

I hear how tough things sound. I might agree that it does not sound like a bad idea to wait on moving in together. I know it may feel like you are moving backwards, but I don't see it as that...I see it as taking the proper time to make sure this move is correct because it could be worse for all involved.

I think counseling for him and a parenting class is in order. You are a great Mom and have great instincts. Follow them. It is our job as a mom to protect her especially in this case if you see what is going on.

If you feel like your daughter could benefit from getting some support so she has a safe place to express her feelings then that might not be a bad idea, but it is important for me to say clearly, it is not because I believe she is doing anything wrong....she is a child who has had a lot to deal with.

In terms of you...what are you doing for yourself? I hear about medication but how are you dealing with your feelings and the stress. How old is the baby? You need support too and I am here for you however you need.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
my baby has just turned 1 and she is such a happy little thing. she is what keeps me going. I wanted things to work out so much this time around as ive already had 1 failed marriage, so thats why im still trying to hold out some hope that this will resolve and we can all be happy. I dont want my second daughter to go through the same thing. mind u i am aware that it can be more damaging staying in a relationship when all is not well. I suppose im a bit scared of being on my own yet again. I think i will suggest some kind of parenting class or councilling to him, but if he isnt prepared to learn to love my child then i know i will have to walk away. problem is i mustnt let my heart rule my head. Thankyou for your advice. Ive had family and friends trying to help but obviously not being on neutral grounds it doesnt always work.
First and foremost, I want to say that you have a great head on your shoulders and although things feel difficult right now, I do believe that however it turns out to be, you will land on your feet. you are a great mother cub and know how to take care of them and I also want you to care for yourself in the process. If that means counseling for you too so you can have your own place to go through it all then I can help you with that as well.

Work hard toward your goal of things progressing in the way that you want, and if they don't, you know you have tried and have done the right thing for yourself and your children.

It is my pleasure to help you and be here for you. You can request me at any time you need. I hope that you have been satisfied with our time together. Keep up your great work and come to me anytime.
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